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Ross: Initiatives will be the stars of November ballot

Jan 29, 2024, 8:15 AM | Updated: 12:03 pm

"I Voted" stickers are ready to be distributed to each person who filled out a ballot. (AP Photo/Ro...

"I Voted" stickers are ready to be distributed to each person who filled out a ballot. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

The November ballot will have a lot more than a presidential race and an open race for Governor.

According to The Seattle Times, there will be six initiatives whose campaigns were mostly paid for by one donor: Brian Heywood, a libertarian on a mission to fix what he calls the “stupid things” the state government does.

He has assumed Tim Eyman’s role, except he was wealthy enough to pay for the signature gatherers with his own money.

Among those initiatives are some major tax measures: repealing the new capital gains tax, prohibiting any form of income tax, repealing the fees for carbon emissions, and letting anyone opt out of the state’s long-term care plan.

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It’s almost like a referendum on the Jay Inslee era.

Mr. Heywood, of course, is being criticized for spending $6.2 million to push his agenda, but like Tim Eyman, he can’t single-handedly pass anything. That will be up to the legislature, and if they punt, it’ll be up to us.

My problem with it is that I remember the original $30 tabs initiative, which seemed like a big victory – until you find out years later that your roads aren’t being fixed, and the ferries are patched with Gorilla tape.

And that’s my only objection to the initiative process. It’s the ultimate form of democracy, but it pretends there are no consequences.

Being a rugged individualist, I’m all for rounding up a volunteer pavement posse to fill some of the crevasses in I-5, some of the exposed re-bar on I-90, to swing a hammer at our Jack-In-The Box expansion joints, but that’s one initiative no one’s proposed yet.

And on the carbon fees – I’m a little surprised a libertarian would be against those because, as I’ve said before, if I have to pay to dump my organic kitchen waste, why would I expect to dump my organic car waste into the air for free? That’s what conservatives used to call a free lunch. Now, they want to make it an entitlement.

And on state-sponsored long-term care insurance– we all get old, with any luck. Eventually, we’ll need someone to take care of us. And yes, it’s our personal responsibility to save up for that.

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But it turns out not everybody does. So, if we’re going to let these people fend for themselves without any money, they’ll need tiny homes, old RVs, or tents somewhere.

That’s why I’m hoping that as these initiative campaigns develop, you’ll ask about what happens after they pass, just as you do with your household budget. You don’t suddenly stop paying your power bill without discussing the consequences or at least buying a few more flashlights.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Initiatives will be the stars of November ballot